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Basic Patterns of Egyptian Society



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Basic Patterns of Egyptian Society. Farming had developed along the Nile River by 5000 B.C.E. Before 3200 B.C.E. the Egyptians, with trade and commercial influence from Mesopotamia, formed their very different civilization. Largely because of the unifying influence of the desert‑surrounded Nile, the Egyptians moved directly from sedentary agricultural communities to large governmental units without experiencing city‑states. Political organization remained authoritarian and centralized. The unified state created in 3100 B.C.E. lasted for 3000 years. The three major periods, the Old, Intermediate, and New Kingdoms, were characterized by the power of a ruler descended from gods and regarded as a god, the pharaoh. He assured the prosperity of the Nile agricultural system. An extensive bureaucracy trained in writing and law upheld his authority. Appointed regional governors supervised irrigation and the building of great public works, like the pyramids, by drafted peasant workers. One pharaoh, Amenhotep IV, without success attempted to replace the many gods with a monotheistic religion under a single deity, Aton - hence his new name, Akhenaton



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